Karl Barth and the Resurrection of the Flesh: The Loss of the Body in Participatory Eschatology

By Nathan Hitchcock

A challenging critique of Karl Barth’s theology of the resurrection of the flesh, highlighting the problems in the idea of a participatory eschatology.

ISBN: 9780227174104


Early Christian writers preferred to speak of the coming resurrection in the most bodily way possible: the resurrection of the flesh. Twentieth-century theologian Karl Barth took the same avenue, daring to speak of humans’ eternal life in rather striking corporeal terms.

In this study, Nathan Hitchcock pulls together Barth’s doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh, anticipating what the great thinker might have said more systematically in Volume V of his Church Dogmatics. Hitchcock provocatively goes on to argue that Barth’s description of the resurrection – as eternalization, as manifestation, as incorporation – bears much in common with some unlikely programmes and, contrary to its intention, jeopardises the very contours of human life it hopes to preserve. In addition to contributing to Barth studies, this book offers a sober warning to theologians pursuing eschatology through notions of participation.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Nathan Hitchcock is Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology at Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


Foreword by Philip G. Ziegler

1. Redeeming the Flesh
2. Young Barth’s Resurrection Dialectic
3. The Resurrection of the Flesh as Eternalization
4. The Resurrection of the Flesh as Manifestation
5. The Resurrection of the Flesh as Incorporation
6. A Future in the Flesh



Endorsements and Reviews

In this engaging monograph, Hitchcock offers a challenging exploration and analysis of Karl Barth’s theology of the resurrection. This is detailed in its presentation, provocative in its critique, and lucid throughout. Hitchcock’s study is set to be an important conversation partner in the fields of Barth studies in particular and eschatology in general.
Paul T. Nimmo, Lecturer of Theology, New College, Edinburgh

In this profound and sophisticated study Nathan Hitchcock explores what has been an astonishingly undertreated feature of [Barth’s] work. He depicts the role of carnal resurrection, with regard to the eschatological binding of persons to the salvific history of God’s humanization, and the locus of life as reconciled life being redeemed through the categories of eternalization, manifestation, and incorporation. Readers will be swept along by Hitchcock’s deft critical touch.
John C. McDowell, Professor of Theology, University of Newcastle, New South Wales

Karl Barth and the Resurrection of the Flesh by Nathan Hitchcock is an interesting yet critical examination into the way in which Barth constructs a theology of the resurrection. … This book is a detailed account of a specific aspect of Barth’s theology, and the dangers which Hitchcock sees as part of a participatory eschatology. A wide range of Barth’s works are engaged with, and the case built up chapter by chapter certainly invokes some serious thought upon the reader.
Kris Hiuser, University of Chester, in Theological Book Review , Vol 25, No 2

… engaging … intelligent and important critique of Barth.
Marten Bjork, in Theologische Literaturzeitung, Vol 139, Issue 9

A stylish, engaging and provocative exposition of Barth’s theology of the Resurrection, in three movements.
Donald Wood, in Theology, Vol 118, Issue 1

This is the best analysis of Barth’s understanding of resurrection …
Stephen H. Webb, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 22:4

Hitchcock demonstrates in a well-researched and astutely written volume the difficulties that Barth encountered while pressing the mystery of resurrection too much, and how the failings get submerged, even lost, in his massive theological enterprise.
Paul Brazier, in Heythrop Journal, Vol 56, Issue 6